From Wikipedia:

Somnath is a magnificent temple located along the coastline in Prabhas Patan, Veraval, Saurashtra region of Gujarat. One of the 12 holy Jyotirlings of Lord Shiva is here in Somnath. Somnath temple is also mentioned in the chapter 13 of Shiva Purana. The temple was reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by multiple Muslim invaders and rulers, notably starting with an attack by Mahmud Ghazni in the 11th century.


The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni Sangam: the confluence of three rivers namely Kapila, Hiran and Saraswati. The Gurjara-Pratihara king Nagabhata II recorded that he has visited tirthas in Saurashtra, including Someshvara, an alternative name for the temple. In 1026, during the reign of Bhima I, the Turkic Muslim ruler Mahmud of Ghazni raided and plundered the Somnath temple, breaking its jyotirlinga. He took away a loot of 20 million dinars.  Kumarapala (r. 1143–72) rebuilt the Somnath temple in “excellent stone and studded it with jewels,” according to an inscription in 1169. He replaced a decaying wooden temple.

During its 1299 invasion of Gujarat, Alauddin Khalji’s army, led by Ulugh Khan, defeated the Vaghela king Karna, and sacked the Somnath temple. The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala I, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 and the lingam was installed by his son Khengara sometime between 1331 and 1351.

In 1395, the temple was destroyed for the third time by Zafar Khan, the last governor of Gujarat under the Delhi Sultanate and later founder of Gujarat Sultanate.


The Iron Man of India and Deputy Prime Minister Vallabhbhai Patel came to Junagadh on 12 November 1947 at which time he ordered the reconstruction of the Somnath temple. Accordingly, The Somnath Trust was established to collect funds and oversee the construction of the temple. The new structure was built by the traditional Somapuri builders of temples in Gujarat. On 11 May 1951, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the President of India performed the installation ceremony for the temple.

Currently the chairman of the trust is the Prime Minister of India.

According to an inscription written in Sanskrit on one of the towers in temple campus, one can travel to the south pole unobstructed by following the straight path from the tower in the south direction.